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Date:      Mon, 11 Sep 2006 20:15:59 +0100
From:      "Jeff Rollin" <>
Subject:   Re: Newbie Experience
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <000001c6d520$292f6700$0c01a8c0@DELL8400> <>

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On 11/09/06, jan gestre <> wrote:
> On 9/11/06, Bob Walker <> wrote:
> >
> > Hi,
> >
> >
> >
> > I have always wanted to better understand Unix, and so I finally made
> the
> > decision to switch some of my office PCs over to either a Unix or Linux
> > system. With office suites like OpenOffice, I felt that I would be able
> to
> > transition away from Windows with minimal disruption to my business. So,
> I
> > downloaded the .iso images from FreeBSD, Suse, and Fedora. I initially
> > favored FreeBSD, since it seemed to have the closest lineage to "pure"
> > Unix,
> > and that was important to me, but after many, many attempts to install
> > both
> > the OS and Gnome desktop environment, I threw up my hands.
> >
> >
> >
> > In brief, the installation process is just awful. After multiple
> attempts
> > on
> > an admittedly older machine (Pentium II 266Mhz, 256KB ram, 30GB hard
> > drive,
> > S3 Virge graphics card), I was able to get the FreeBSD OS installed, but
> > could not configure Gnome or KDE properly. The documentation is sketchy
> at
> > best. I had to learn about X11, Xorg, XFree86, and all of the gory
> history
> > of X before I could even begin to use ee and know to edit the
> /etc/rc.conf
> > file. The installation process did not recognize my graphics card or
> > Ethernet connection, and all I could get was a crude 600x800 display.
> And
> > DesktopBSD was even worse.
> >
> >
> >
> > I then repartitioned my drive and sequentially installed Fedora Core 5
> amd
> > then Suse 10.1. Both were EASY to install, Fedora in particular
> recognized
> > all of my peripherals, and I was up and running with it in about two
> > hours.
> > Conversely, FreeBSD took me multiple days and has still left me
> > bewildered.
> > Needless to say, I was very disappointed. I feel that FreeBSD will never
> > achieve broader acceptance (even with momentum building for alternative
> > OS)
> > among people with modest technical proficiency and fairly simple
> > requirements (i.e., spreadsheets, word processing, presentations,
> email).
> > FreeBSD has an awful "out of the box" experience. It's too bad, because
> I
> > think FreeBSD is probably a better OS, but I'll never really know.
> > Regards,
> >
> >
> too bad, you experienced that, the FreeBSD sysinstall is not that really
> hard, it may seem daunting at first because of its text mode but it is
> very
> straight forward, i guess you have to read the handbook over and over
> again
> to fully comprehend the things you missed why things like X is not
> working,
> it will also help if you will include the error messages as to why you
> can't
> run/install gnome or kde. imo you missed some dependencies that's why
> you're
> having a hard time.

Discussions like these leave me lost for words... The last time I had
trouble with a FreeBSD install, it was because sysinstall neglected to
install a kernel! (I remember the days when people used to complain about
(n)curses-based Linux installs... Fire up Windows XP's setup.exe, and what
do you get?!)

Which is to say, apart from the occasional bug I really don't see what the
problem is with sysinstall.  To me it's the best thing this side of YaST for
getting (certain areas of) system administration done. (Yeah, I know a lot
of you probably hate YaST in particular or Linux in general... whilst I like
FreeBSD, I have to say that it really suffers in comparison to Linux in the
area of driver support. I know that's not all the FBSD developers' fault,
but when you're sat there fighting with a piece of recalcitrant hardware,
surprisingly enough assigning blame to where it belongs is often the last
thing on your mind!) It's really hard to make a cock-up with FreeBSD
installation - apart from not knowing how much space to set aside! There
really ought to be something about that in the manual....

This is going off-topic quite a bit, but the same could be said for NetBSD
(not, in my experience, with OpenBSD.) They're really hard to cock-up if you
just *follow* *the darned* *instructions*. After coming away from Windows,
it's actually nice to have some decent documentation!

Jeff Rollin

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